Over two sold out dates, K-array’s flagship KH8 touring system covered the O2 for 2017’s most talked about pop reunion
London, UK – September 2017… Returning to London’s iconic O2 Arena for one of 2017’s most anticipated pop reunions, the flagship Firenze touring system from Italian innovator K-array was recently deployed for the return of 1980s superstars Bros. Packing out the world famous arena to capacity over two nights, the return of Bros was supported by a core front of house system comprising just 12 KH8 panels per-side for seamless, full venue coverage.
Formed in 1986 by brothers Matt and Luke Goss plus drummer Craig Logan, Bros were amongst the most successful pop acts of the late 1980s, inspiring the devotion of a legion of fans in the UK, Europe and beyond. With the band’s 2017 reunion dates at the O2 having sold out in seconds, expectations were high for the show, staged by Leeds-based Production North.
The dates marked the second time that K-array Firenze has been used to cover the O2, having previously been deployed in May as part of a UK tour by Diversity. However, while the Diversity shows were largely based upon playback content, the Bros concerts were based upon live instrumentation as well as a range of lead and backing vocals, affording the Firenze system the chance to once again prove itself in one of the world’s most prestigious live music venues.
“K-array makes a range of unique and extremely clever products that are totally out there and on their own in the industry, so being able to bring Firenze back into this genuinely iconic venue in London, one of the most loved venues on the planet for live music, is a real honour,” said Sam Nankivell of UK distributor 2B Heard, who provided technical support for Production North across both nights. “This is an unmissable opportunity to fly the system in the O2, to show people how it works and to be part of a large production that has the whole country talking.”
The K-array system’s previous appearance at the O2 saw it cover all but the blanked-off top tier of the Arena with a core system of just nine KH8 panels per side – described at the time as “the next step in the evolution of speaker systems”. For Bros, Production North required only minimal additions to the system in order to cater to the fully sold out venue. Just 12 KH8 panels per side were flown to deliver consistent coverage, while six IP65-rated KS8 subwoofers per side provided low-end extension. In addition, two discreet side hangs comprised three Mugello KH3 concert series panels plus four Mugello KH2 down fills per side.
Once again, the local crew from Stage Miracles, as well as the team from Production North described themselves as astonished by the speed and ease with which the Firenze system can be set-up and flown. Compact enough to occupy a fraction of the truck-space required for more traditional PA systems, Firenze can be unpacked and rigged in minutes by a one-man team.
“The way it rigs, the speed with which it rigs and the lack of space it needs in a truck, it’s all impressive,” said Production North Director Steve Levitt, who personally manned the front of house position for both of the O2 shows.
The Firenze KH8 dismisses the limitations of more cumbersome touring solutions with an innovative flat panel design that enables optimum directivity via digital acoustic steering. Each self-powered IP45-rated enclosure houses 16 neodymium transducers (eight 8-inch for LF, eight 4-inch for MF and four 1.4-inch high frequency compression drivers), while panels are anchored in pre-cabled groups of three for extremely fast rigging. Entire systems are flown in a straight line, with the option to precisely tilt panels as required.
On-board each panel is an IP65-rated electronics module delivering eight channels of Powersoft DSP and amplification, utilising the Armonia platform for system EQ and control, and providing 2,000W of power on each output. System optimisation to suit the venue is achieved simply with AFMG’s EASE Focus software, which also forms the control interface for the creation of all required FIR algorithms, ensuring quick and simple operation over a single, trusted platform. Additionally, all of the Powersoft amplifier modules are IP addressable, enabling quick and seamless configuration updates.
The combination of all of the above is named Slim Array Technology (SAT) – quick to deploy, virtually invisible when flown, yet powerful enough to meet even the most challenging of environments.
For Steve Levitt, the Bros reunion meant he could find out how Firenze performed with, as he put it, “a bass drum up its arse! A live mix! This show is fully live with real vocals, real drums, real instruments played by very skilled musicians. It’s a great test for Firenze in one of the biggest arenas in Europe”.
Reflecting on his experience of the KH8 so far, he said, “it’s an intriguing sound system. It seems to me very much like the rigging was designed and box was made to fit but it still sounds good, which is an amazing feat. In general, the coverage that you can achieve and the intelligence of the system in terms of both rigging and audio quality is impressive.”
For 2B Heard, meanwhile, returning to the O2 Arena marked the latest step in Firenze’s growing acceptance within the UK’s competitive live touring sector. “After asking ‘When will I be famous?’, Firenze has now proven itself multiple times here in the O2 Arena, and out at festivals such as the Isle of Wight,” concluded Nankivell. “Engineers and production companies are realising that they can have it all – a high-end touring system which is incredibly affordable in terms of trucking, extremely fast to fly, and which provides a truly world class performance.”